Memorandum from Keith Humphries, Dataplus
Computer Services (ILA 34)
1. We have been operational for nearly nine
years. I am a qualified teacher with over 20 years experience
and ran BTEC National Diploma Courses in an FE college.
2. We have never been associated with our
local colleges but as part of our business we built up a consultancy
and repair service alongside our teaching. We also become a branded
UK-Online centre. We have fully equipped training premises and
although we have never expected to make a fortune we thoroughly
enjoy our teaching experiences in our small rural market town.
(Once a teacher always . . . )
3. We found calling the ILA centre to be
really irritating. Anything other than a simple routine question
seemed to cause confusion and we quickly adopted the "call
three times get three different answers and pick the most
likely one" approach. Now, in retrospect, it seems everybody
else was doing the same! We tried several times to get past the
call centre operatives to speak to somebody more senior but never
managed it. On one occasion we were called back by a "supervisor"
but she had no knowledge of our original questions and was in
fact trying to answer something we had not asked.
4. The call centre staff sounded young,
impersonal although not impolite. It just seemed that they did
not have a complete grasp of the job they were doing or perhaps
just hadn't received adequate training. It was difficult to believe
they were our contact into a multi-million pound Government scheme.
In the course of our business we had occasion to call many technical
support/call centres and in terms of "usefulness" the
ILA centre had to be right at the bottom of the list. We called
often about a range of topics but nearly always found it a frustrating
experience on one day when calling to complain about the
slowness of the web site and the fact we could not register students
we were told by different people:
(1) Yes we knowno further comment made.
(2) Have you tried in the small hours of
the morning when its less busy!!!!
(3) Well if you don't do it by 9.00pm you'll
have to wait till next week.
5. Not really the responses you would expect
from a Government flagship scheme.
6. We discovered from one of our clients
that her son had innocently been selling ILA's on the streets
of Bristol expecting to be paid £10 for every person he got
signed up. He was never paid. He was obviously annoyed at having
been duped so with permission we reported the matter to the ILA
centre. We were told that somebody would ring us back but they
never did. So many of us seem to have had the same kind of experiences!
7 February 2002